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Aug. 30 — A nationwide employment agency will pay $435,000 to settle claims by the EEOC it excluded black job seekers when staffing temporary jobs at a FedEx SmartPost location in Southaven, Miss. ( EEOC v. Res. Emp’t Sols., LLC , N.D. Miss., No. 3:14-cv-00217, consent decree filed 8/26/16 ).
The lawsuit and settlement continue the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s crackdown on staffing firms that favor one category of protected-class workers over another when servicing an employer-client, EEOC Memphis Regional Attorney Faye Williams told Bloomberg BNA.
“We’ve sued staffing firms in the past and it’s always the same issue” of their “pitting low-wage earners against one another,” she said Aug. 30. Staffing companies “can’t prefer” one class of worker over another, she said.
Williams also stressed in the EEOC’s Aug. 29 statement announcing the pact that temporary and other “gig economy” workers often are at risk of having their employment rights overlooked. “This case should serve notice to employers that EEOC will not hesitate to step in and vigorously defend the rights of these often invisible workers,” she said.
The agency sued Resource Employment Solutions LLC in September 2014 alleging the company failed to place, assign or refer a class of black and non-Hispanic applicants for temporary positions and retaliated against one worker who complained. That violated the race and national origin prohibitions of Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, the EEOC asserted.
The parties’ four-year consent decree was signed by Judge Michael P. Mills of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi Aug. 26. It also requires Resource Employment Solutions to implement various employee training measures, including ensuring that an officer or member of senior management appears in person or by video during training sessions to reaffirm to participants the company’s commitment to its anti-discrimination policy.
The company also agreed to take steps to promote supervisor accountability, including putting managers and other supervisors on notice that they will be disciplined, up to and including termination, for failing to adhere to its policies prohibiting employment discrimination.
In addition, Resource Employment Solutions agreed to develop a written policy and process governing its job placement services. The policy must include a statement that the company doesn’t place or refer applicants for placement or assignment to its client companies based on race or national origin. It also must list a toll-free number for employees and applicants to report alleged violations of the policy to corporate headquarters.
Resource Employment Solutions provides employment recruiting and placement services “in all 50 states across the country,” according to its website. The company didn’t respond Aug. 30 to Bloomberg BNA’s request for comment.
EEOC Birmingham Regional Attorney C. Emanuel Smith and staff attorneys Christopher J. Woolley and Marsha Lynn Rucker in Birmingham, Ala., Carrie N. Vance in Milwaukee and Gerald L. Thornton in Memphis, Tenn., also represented the commission. Attorneys with FordHarrison LLP in Memphis represented Resource Employment Solutions.
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Text of the consent decree is available at https://www.bloomberglaw.com/public/desktop/document/Equal_Employment_Opportunity_Commission_v_Resource_Employment_Sol/1?1472582083.
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